Recent studies suggest the African nation of Burundi has the highest levels of hunger and undernourished people worldwide. More than 10 years of war, along with poverty and overpopulation, have strongly affected the nation’s economic and nutritional conditions.
Along many of the hillsides in Burundi’s northern Ngozi province, workers are digging and planting. They hope to stop fertile soils from sliding away in what is considered the hungriest place on earth.
The United Nations World Food Program is currently paying more than 5,700 local farmers to work other people’s lands. The WFP program, Food-for-Assets, comes after years of local farmers trying and failing to beat hunger by working their own land.
Fifty-year-old Matthias Bukuru is one of the farmers. He says that the $1.25 wage he earns is a fortune compared to his past.
Each year the International Food Policy Research Institute releases a Global Hunger Index report. The 2014 report showed the highest areas of hunger are in Africa south of the Sahara.
In East Asia and Southeast Asia hunger is common. However, in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the hunger situation has improved.
The World Food Program says that recent studies show that feeding and agricultural programs have reduced malnutrition rates nationwide from 58 to 49 percent. The WFP says Burundi’s government is eager to eradicate hunger.